62 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

The World Atlas of Language Structures Online Chapter 49 lists 84 languages with at least 6 distinct cases (24 of them with at least 10 cases). A number of them are spoken in remote areas of Australia ...
  • 1,144
42 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

Though as some other posters have noted, some Russians may use dialect case forms, anyone who is out of diapers uses the full case system. Case is a core concept of the language. The very idea that ...
  • 599
41 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

The question has been well answered for specifics. I'd only want to add that a little thought would have answered it in general: most of language learning happens before a learner ever goes to school, ...
27 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

Morphological complexity as such as is not related to the level of schooling. Some of the most morphologically complex languages are spoken by people without any education. So, all Russian and German ...
25 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

All people use cases in Russian. Uneducated people may make some typical mistakes however, so use cases and other things wrongly, but the number of such possible characteristic mistakes is limited. ...
  • 6,167
24 votes

Is there a reason behind the phenomenon of English becoming more vulgar with time?

There are many factors explaining a seemingly larger use of a language profanity, indeed. First off, we should remember that during thousands of years, only few people were literate, mostly monks and ...
22 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

I live in Poland, and my first language is Polish, a slavic language somewhat related to Russian, with a quite complicated case system. From my experience, I can confirm what others have written: ...
21 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

People who natively speak a language that has grammatical cases do generally use them commonly and consistently. Like all language features, case systems do also evolve, and it's quite common for ...
20 votes
Accepted

Why does Spanish tend to swap letters in words?

Metathesis is common across languages, including in the varieties of Romance that emerged from Vulgar Latin. However, Western Romance had it more than Eastern Romance; within Western Romance, Iberian ...
  • 5,553
19 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

Cases are properly used by pre-school children Any kid who can speak the language can use the cases properly. There may be edge cases where "the prescribed way to say this is X, don't use Y" - which ...
  • 424
18 votes

Morphology vs Etymology

Etymology was the term used for both concepts up to the early 20th century. Then de Saussure postulated the incompatibility of diachrony and synchrony and nothing was ever the same again. Etymology ...
14 votes
Accepted

Why can linguists decide which use of language is correct and which is not?

Often we are hearing that such-and-such spelling, phraseology, etc is incorrect. Person X made a grammar error, pronunciation error, orthography error, styling error, other sorts of language error. ...
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13 votes

Why did England not maintain French as a spoken language?

The Norman conquest was hardly a case of 'French' colonization. France barely existed at the time. The Normans were fervently not French in their self-identity and can't even really be said to have ...
  • 139
13 votes

Why do the same phonological changes happen in multiple unrelated languages?

There are two primary explanations for this. One is that the change is "preferred" on some phonetic ground, for example the distinction between A and B may be particularly challenging to perceive, or ...
  • 70k
12 votes

Is there a reason behind the phenomenon of English becoming more vulgar with time?

When used extensively, profanities tend to get adopted into standard language, thereby losing their "profane" meaning. This does not just happen in English, there are similarities in other languages ...
12 votes
Accepted

Do languages ever get new cases?

Yes. One well-known example of a case emerging as we write is the Russian neo-vocative: In modern colloquial Russian given names and a small family of terms often take a special "shortened"...
10 votes
Accepted

Do children's mispronunciations influence the development of a language?

Yes, there are such studies. Notably, Jakobson's Child language, aphasia and phonological universals, and David Stampe's The acquisition of phonetic representation in Chicago Linguistic Society, vol ...
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10 votes

Why did the pronunciation of the rhotic phoneme /r/ change after the 2ndWW in public speech?

The short answer to your question for both English and German is early twentieth century stage pronunciation, an artificial, overarticulated accent designed to project to the back rows of a theater ...
  • 201
10 votes

When did Spanish develop perfect aspect?

I think this question is confused Latin did have a perfect aspect, it was only available in the present, past, and future tenses (these verb forms are usually described as the perfect, pluperfect, ...
  • 5,057
9 votes

Latin, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and French number words from eleven to nineteen - history of a bizarre, inconsistent construction

There are forces driving language evolution, and we see two of them at work here. The first driving force is Regularisation. The irregular pattern of latin (indicated by duodeviginti and undeviginti, ...
9 votes

Is it realistic for the Grounders' language as depicted in "The 100" to have developed within 97 years?

There may be a real-world example on Quora from Don Grushkin, Professor of Deaf Studies (Ph.D. in Language, Reading and Culture). I've added the bold. I'm not sure anybody's ever conducted any ...
9 votes

Julius Caesar original name spelling?

As others stated, on monumental inscriptions, the name of Julius Caesar would look similar to IVLIVS CAESAR However, saying it was "spelled with an I instead of a J" may be misleading, because 'J' ...
  • 1,757
9 votes

Why do the same phonological changes happen in multiple unrelated languages?

These changes are phonetically "natural" in some sense. For example, [y] (this would be [j] in IPA) is very close to [i] in articulatory terms: both are pronounced by putting the tongue tip close to ...
8 votes

Are there documented languages that evolved from tonal to nontonal?

It is generally assumed that proto-Indo-European had a pitch accent, which survives in the notation of Classical Greek and of Vedic, but which has disappeared in Modern Greek as well as in Classical ...
  • 22.8k
8 votes

Is there a reason behind the phenomenon of English becoming more vulgar with time?

Note that you are looking at written communication. When you communicate with written language, any meaning usually transported by inflection, mimic and gesture is lost. Let's see what this poster ...
  • 180
8 votes
Accepted

Etymology of "fiamma" in Italian

Syllable-initial Latin "Xl" clusters, where X is a consonant, regularly become "Xi" in Italian. Examples: platea -> piazza ('square') clamare -> chiamare ('call') flumen -&...
  • 6,524
8 votes
Accepted

How do new function words develop in a language?

The process is known as "grammaticalization", and there is a ginormous literature on the topic. There are very many sources: here are a couple of examples. Many languages have a an ...
  • 70k
7 votes
Accepted

What is known or believed about the origin of Semitic-type root-and-template morphology?

I can only offer some information obtained from two references I have recently come across when looking for answers to a similar question. Unfortunately, I am neither a Semitist nor an Afrasianist, ...
7 votes

Does changing the writing system for a language change the language?

There is a plain answer: No, it doesn't. Historically, only a minority of speakers were literate; therefore the spoken language did not follow the writing. Even in societies were almost all adults ...
7 votes
Accepted

Plural form as respect form - based on what?

Wikipedia has a good summary of the T-V distinction & the various strategies used across different languages. The singular-plural distinction is just one strategy, and not the most common one. ...
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